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View Full Version : I inherited a Colt revolver, what do I have?


jntmjt1
December 13, 2009, 07:32 PM
Hello,

I am pretty up to speed on modern rifles, but I have no knowledge at all concerning old revolvers. So, I turn to you for assistance.

I inherited this revolver a few years ago, but am just getting around to learning about it. It is a Colt SAA, serial number 2979XX. I believe the finish is original because there is no evidence of blurred markings or rounded edges. Everything is crisp and clean.

There is no caliber marking on it anywhere. I received it in a cowboy style leather holster and belt. The pistol belt had .38 special rounds in it, and they fit in the chamber, so I assume that is the caliber.

Did the factory make grips like these, or are they aftermarket?

Any help at all will be greatly appreciated... as I said, I know nothing about this. Any ideas of its value (it's not for sale no matter what it's worth)?

Here are a couple of pictures:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2709/4181478455_e7924c9caf.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4004/4182242714_000322f86f.jpg

Thanks for your time,
John Thomas
jntmjt1@yahoo.com

Wobble
December 13, 2009, 08:07 PM
It would be helpful if you could tell us what markings are on the gun.

This may not be a Colt but rather a replica with Colt markings and patent dates. However, the replica maker company's name should also be there somewhere.

The grips are distinctive, but not Colt, and could be replacements.

The serial number, if indeed a six-digit number, and if real Colt, would mean it was built about 1907.

jntmjt1
December 13, 2009, 08:12 PM
The gun is not in my possesion right now. I am on active duty in the military and it is stored away with a family member in my home town. I am pretty certain it is truly a Colt. That is the only manufacturer marked on it anywhere. Also, no import markings. Additionally, I know my family member who owned this, he was quite old and I'm sure he hadn't bought a firearm probably since the 60's maybe the 70's at the latest. So I know for sure this is not a recent import or replica.

madcratebuilder
December 13, 2009, 08:12 PM
Appears to be a Colt or Colt clone with non factory grips. What marking are on this revolver?

the rifleer
December 13, 2009, 08:16 PM
looks like a 1873 colt cattleman (aka peace maker).

I dont know if its original or not (there are lots of replicas out there) alot of them came in .45 LC, but if .38 fits, its not a .45 LC. It looks like it in pretty good shape, so i would lean towards it being a replica, however i have seen some old guns that are in like new condition, so it could also be original.

Replica or original, either way you have a fine little 6 gun there. I'll have one one of these days...

Fingers McGee
December 13, 2009, 08:36 PM
It would be helpful if you could tell us what markings are on the gun.

+1. Front sight is not correct for an SAA. Could have been replaced??

Jim Watson
December 13, 2009, 08:41 PM
As Wobble says, granted it is a genuine Colt, it was made in 1907. If it says Colt, it is a Colt, the replica makers do not counterfeit the real trademarks.

The checkered grips are aftermarket and the front sight has been filed down, presumably to zero with a particular load.

Blue Book says Colt did not chamber the SAA in .38 Special until 1930, which leaves two possibilities. Either the gun was rebarrelled and recylindered from some other caliber, as was done to hundreds of SAAs, or it is really a .38 Long Colt with the old bored-through chambers that will accept a .38 Special. Or .357 Magnum, so be very careful here. Lack of caliber markings is curious.

I don't think anything else can be told about it until you get home and get a close look at it and closer, clearer pictures.

Fingers McGee
December 13, 2009, 08:48 PM
The checkered grips are aftermarket and the front sight has been filed down, presumably to zero with a particular load.


The front sight is too tall and too square to be original colt that was filed down.

Jim Watson
December 13, 2009, 09:01 PM
Could be.
No markings, you reckon it might have Christy barrel and cylinder?

jntmjt1
December 13, 2009, 09:25 PM
I am confident it is a real Colt. It has threee patent dates on it, "Sep 1871, July 1872, Jan 1875" and behind that, it has the pony reared up on its hind legs (that is the best I can make out in one of my high-resolution photos).

I can e-mail the high-res photos to anyone who thinks that could help.

I searched thoroughly for caliber markings on it, because I was concerned that .38 special may not be correct, but there is nothing indicating the caliber.

Send me your e-mail address if you want to see the pics... be advised, they are very large.

Also... I'd like to get some correct grips for it, what do I need?

Thanks,
John Thomas
jntmjt1@yahoo.com

Wobble
December 13, 2009, 10:52 PM
The more I look at the photos the stranger it gets. As others have mentioned the front sight is oddly shaped. Also the grips don't seem to be the right shape -- the bottom is rounded instead of flat.

The three (or two) patent dates on the left side of the frame is common, even on replica Colts. However, I personally have never seen the Colt "pony" logo engraved on the gun itself. If it appears at all, it's on the grips. Maybe someone more experienced than I can comment on the engraved logo.

jntmjt1
December 13, 2009, 11:32 PM
I could be wrong about the pony logo, but it looks like it is there in one of my pictures. It looks really faint, and it may even just be a spotch of some sort in the finish (I thought I remembered it being there though, but maybe not). Also, the rounded bottom of the grip area is an illusion from the camera. I am very sure that is completely flat.

Model-P
December 14, 2009, 01:07 AM
Almost definitely a rebarrel and replaced cylinder, probably a refinish as well. Definitely not original stocks.

Check the rear of the cylinder. If it has a rampant Colt it is a 2nd generation cylinder. The cylinder front being chamfered instead of beveled tells me it is late 1st generation cylinder at the earliest (1916+). But, the flutes tell me it is most certainly NOT a 1st generation cylinder at all, but a 2nd generation. Check for that Colt stamp and if it is a 2nd generation cylinder made by Colt, it should be there.

The caliber should be stamped on the side of the barrel. Should also be a address on the top of the barrel.
The front sight looks more like a target model sight.
All this points to a rebarrel.

The finish on the barrel, cylinder and grip frame appears different than that on the frame and loading gate, though it may just be the lighting. The frame and loading gate look like nickel, and the other parts look like chrome.

I wouldn't try firing this gun until the actual cartridge for which it is made to shoot has been verified by an expert.

What is that dark area under the loading gate in the photo?

Model-P
December 14, 2009, 06:54 PM
I wrote: The finish on the barrel, cylinder and grip frame appears different than that on the frame and loading gate, though it may just be the lighting. The frame and loading gate look like nickel, and the other parts look like chrome.

Or is it blue and color case, and a bright camera flash is just fooling me?:confused::rolleyes:

jntmjt1
December 14, 2009, 07:11 PM
The finish is:

barrel, cylinder, & trigger = blue
frame & hammer = color case hardened
trigger guard & area around grip = nickel (or shiny metal with the finish worn off)

The loading gate is opened, that is why it looks strange in that area.

Certainly no caliber markings or address on the barrel.

Thanks for the information. Any ballpark guess on what it's worth?

John Thomas

Jdomin
December 23, 2009, 12:39 PM
LUCKY DOG!